Catriona Matthew has been reappointed as the European Solheim Cup captain for 2021, the Ladies European Tour announced yesterday.
The Scot, who will lead Team Europe at Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio, was unveiled in a news conference at The Gleneagles Hotel, the scene of Europe’s triumph over the United States, in September.
Matthew will attempt to become Europe’s first multiple Solheim Cup-winning captain. She led Team Europe to a 14 ½ - 13 ½ victory in the 2019 Solheim Cup, which was the highest attended women’s golf event ever held in the UK and the most widely watched on television.
Matthew said that the thrilling event was the pinnacle of her career, even ‘blowing away’ her major victory in the 2009 Women’s British Open.
Reflecting on the dramatic victory and the task ahead, Matthew said: “Winning the Solheim Cup in Scotland was a dream come true, but backing that up with a win in America would be even better.
“It’s always harder to win on US soil, but I’m honoured to be tasked with the mission. I was lucky enough to be part of the first European team to win on US soil at Colorado Golf Club in 2013 and so know what’s possible."
“The American team played extremely well at Gleneagles, but what we accomplished this year and what it meant to people all around the world, will serve as further motivation. I’m excited to get down to business, build the next team and see what Europe is capable of at Inverness Club. It’s a very Scottish name, so I’m hoping that’s a good omen!
“Anyone who witnessed the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland can be left in no doubt that it was an outstanding international event which set a new benchmark for women’s golf, but this is the beginning of a new, two-year journey, so I’m going to gather all my experience, take it forward and do my best to bring the trophy home to Europe again in 2021.”
Matthew, who has 11 professional tournament victories, made her Solheim Cup debut in 1998 and played for Europe nine times in the competition. She has been instrumental in four Solheim Cup victories, three times as a competitor, in 2003, 2011 and 2013 and as the winning captain in 2019.
“I’m very pleased Catriona has agreed to captain the European Solheim Cup team in 2021 at Inverness Club,” said John Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “The leadership she showed in Gleneagles played a significant role in her team’s thrilling victory. She created a very cohesive team that had tremendous belief and confidence in their ability to win matches when it mattered most.
"Bringing that winning experience to America under her guidance will serve the European team very well as they set out to successfully defend the Solheim Cup.”
The 2019 European Solheim Cup team lavished praise on Matthew.
Suzann Pettersen, who holed an eight-foot putt to win on the 18th green in the final match at Gleneagles, said: “I’m thrilled that Catriona is returning as captain. She’s a class act and obviously inspires all the players and team members around her. She’s not only a Solheim Cup legend, but she’s also a great leader, friend and mother. She had the faith in me to choose me as a wildcard pick, for which I will forever be grateful and she deserves all the credit.”
Dame Laura Davies, a vice-captain in 2019, said: “Everyone enjoyed the match at Gleneagles so much and I think that Catriona was such a great captain that she deserves the chance to go and get the trophy back again. I am looking forward to another terrific contest in Ohio.”
During the press conference, Matthew also revealed that she would keep the same original back-room team for the 2021 matches, naming Pettersen, Davies and Kathryn Imrie as her three vice-captains. Pettersen had been named as a vice-captain before she was selected as a captain’s pick, when she stepped down from the role, which was then accepted by Mel Reid.
The 17th edition of the Solheim Cup, to be played on Tuesday, August 31 to Monday, September 6, 2021, will continue to build on the tradition and history of the biennial transatlantic contest.
The Donald Ross-designed Inverness Club boasts a major championship pedigree having hosted many of the premier championships in golf including four U.S. Opens (1920, 1931, 1957, 1979), two PGA Championships (1986, 1993), the 2003 & 2011 U.S. Senior Open Championships and, most recently, the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur.
Tickets for the 2021 Solheim Cup are on sale now at solheimcupusa.com